Opinion Polls, and various iterations of public opinion surveys provide a snapshot or glimpse into minds of public at the time of polling.
Proponents of the Fargo Dam and FM Diversion have gone to great lengths to suppress vital information to keep the public generally in the dark about what the project really is. As people become more informed on the proposed project their position on the matter becomes more clear.
For example: The term “control structure” was used to reduce public push-back against the “dam” portion of the project, which is the major feature causing the most impact to property owners upstream of the proposed project alignment.
FACT: The “diversion channel” is a secondary feature that handles water impacts created by the “primary dam” feature. As the USACE began to admit the “dam” feature, proponents still downplayed the significance of the primary feature classified as a Class 1 High Hazard Dam.
In retrospect, it appears the reasoning behind fast-tracking of the Fargo Dam and FM Diversion project was to avoid public awareness, despite the touted public meetings for guise of transparency.
Proponents repeatedly claimed “milestones” in passage of sales taxes, various USACE required authorizations and the most recent corrupt property tax vote. But proponents refuse to acknowledge they have not received all required authorization, permits or at the very least…, placed the entire project to a vote of the people required to live behind the structure or fund the project.
Think about that last statement. There has never been an official YES or NO vote on whether the proposed Fargo Dam and FM Diversion should be built and the Fargo Diversion Authority has spent over $191.3 million without valid consent of the public voter.
If Minnesota proponents of the project had a lick of sense, they would be telling Fargo to complete internal flood protections for the city that already exists… But the Nancy Otto’s, Kevin Campbell’s, Brian Berg’s, Jerry Van Amberg’s and Brenda Elmer’s of the world seem beset on reciting USACE augmented flood threats as opposed to a factual flood threat being created by Fargo expansion.
Project proponents on the ND side are brutally incessant, condescending and manipulative of their Minnesota neighbors. However, it doesn’t help that Minnesota officials like Nancy Otto (Sanford employee), Kevin Campbell (non-Clay County resident), Brian Berg ( Fargo resident and Clay County Administrator), Jerry Van Amberg (Buffalo Red Watershed chair) and Brenda Elmer (City Council, Regional Director – Associated Builders and Contractors of MN-ND) blindly aligned themselves with Fargo expansion, singing the praises of a project that fosters Fargo, ND economic growth at the expense of Minnesota prosperity.
On June 10, 2015 the Fargo Forum reported:
“63 percent of the 405 Moorhead residents interviewed in a recent poll,
think Fargo would benefit more from the project.”
Telos Associates, a West Fargo firm, conducted the polling (margin of error +/- 4.9 percent ).
The Fargo Forum article cited:
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Mayor Williams
is handling the proposed FM Diversion?
Approve – 25%
Disapprove/Unsure – 75%
The Forum article goes onto state: “The mayor has never been a full-throated supporter of the project, maintaining that Moorhead is on higher ground than Fargo and therefore less vulnerable.”
A sentiment countered by Nathan Berseth (Richland County Commissioner) “She hasn’t been an outspoken critic or proponent of it, but sometimes silence can speak volumes.”
Berseth is correct…, silence implies support, fails to represent non-supporters and allows top decision makers to hear only one side of the issue.
WDAY TV reported on June 10, 2015:
“The survey also says 91% of respondents believe Moorhead
city council members should be at least somewhat concerned
about the potential impact to rural Minnesota.”
How concerned should Mayor Williams and Moorhead city council members
be about the FM Diversion’s potential impacts to rural Minnesota –
very concerned, somewhat concerned, not too concerned, or not concerned at all?
Very concerned – 43%
Somewhat concerned – 48%
Not too concerned – 7.5%
Not concerned at all – 1.5%
Curiously, elected officials on either side of the contentious Red River dividing the communities of Fargo and Moorhead have never genuinely held town-hall meetings to educate or ascertain the public perception on the true aspects and impacts of the proposed Fargo Dam and FM Diversion project. Only USACE run meetings were held to sell and justify the multi-billion dollar project. Which would suggest that every report to leaders in Washington is ultimately disingenuous because it is based on Corps bias, assumptions and hearsay…, not a true representation tied to a vote of the people.
Even more disappointing is the lack of a one person/one vote consensus of constituents to determine if the project should proceed. Local officials feign public support at the state capitols and Washingtion D.C. by agenda…, not by representation of the people. Which denies fair and honest representation of the population at large on a project that is largely redundant to Moorhead’s current flood protection and has very little chance of staying on budget, with no clear indication of how cost over-runs will be ultimately paid.
Regardless…, public officials that support a loss of prosperity to Minnesota should be heavily scrutinized and held accountable for placing Fargo’s best interest before Moorhead, Clay county and Minnesota.